To get on top and stay on top it’s not enough to look after and develop just one area of strength. We need four primary areas of strength to drive effective business leadership.
If any one of these areas of strength becomes deflated, our ‘wheel’ becomes difficult to turn. If we have gained some speed with our businesses the loss of pressure on any one side leaves us feeling unbalanced, out of control and literally ‘stuck in the mud.’
So we need to consciously develop and maintain these areas.
We need to incorporate wheel maintenance into our daily habits. Business leaders consciously program their habits with these four areas in mind. They know that certain things need to happen, in most cases daily, regardless of whether they feel like it at the time or not.
The EnQ strengths wheel presents a simple model to carry out a ‘pressure check’ from time to time.
They are as follows:
This is the strength that drives us to do difficult tasks as and when necessary, and to act as if we are brave when in reality we are often terrified. We get our mental strength by being connected to what matters most to us, and by programming our subconscious minds to drive our actions appropriately. Affirmations work well for this purpose (they need to be in the positive and the present to work). Mantras can also work well to build and maintain mental strength.
For me, an example of this was very early in our first business venture, when we faced a legal case against an employee who had stolen a lot of money from us and then proceeded to sue us for unfair dismissal. We were a young, cash-strapped and very vulnerable company in an almost impossible situation. Each morning as I stood in front of the mirror I would tell myself, “I have more to give this day than this day has to give me.” I also had the advantage of having to apply makeup which I pretended was my war paint. This mantra and little routine did a lot to strengthen me mentally each day, and we came through that situation, intact, and a lot wiser, if a little battle scarred.
Nothing quite like facing a cash flow forecast to separate the cubs from the warriors…
Is needed for growth, to endure seasonal cash flows, costly production mistakes and unexpected lost orders and clients. Financial strength comes from facing the brutal facts up front when planning the year ahead as the business leader. This can often be achieved by setting up and updating a cash flow forecast, consistently, as a habit. Loans might be needed, sales expanded, costs controlled but identifying pitfalls and planning ahead instills a habit of achieving financial strength.
Many business mentors advise their clients to run their businesses as if they are always cash flow tight. Why? Because they maintain the habit of staying right on top of things and will seldom get caught out by changes en route that they didn’t plan for. Mental strength is sometimes needed to build financial strength too – nothing quite like facing a cash flow forecast to separate the cubs from the warriors.
We all need to feel significant, and entrepreneurship is one of the most difficult places to achieve this on an ongoing basis.
We work so incredibly hard and often feel that our efforts are invisible to everyone else, especially when we don’t get the results we were hoping for. Some of us get our sense of significance from our religious beliefs, and some of us get it from creating and focusing on our own strong sense of purpose. We also get a lot back from seeing some visible progress from our efforts.
Here is an insightful 5-minute presentation on dealing with feeling invisible by Nicole Johnson. She takes a religious view, but regardless of your feelings about that, it offers a lovely perspective and is worth the watch.
Just about every successful entrepreneur has some routine to make sure that they stay physically strong.
Very possibly our most significant strength. We don’t all have to be body builders or food radicals, but we do need to ensure that we are firing on all cylinders at all times. Just about every successful entrepreneur has some routine to make sure that they stay physically strong. There are a gazillion articles to be found online about the habits of successful entrepreneurs, and most will include some form of physical routine designed to keep them physically strong to be able to lead their businesses effectively.
While exercise seems the most obvious way of maintaining our physical health, our eating habits are even more important. This is not an area of expertise for me, other than what I have learned about myself, most often the hard way. So if this is an area you’re struggling with, to help you on your journey I am delighted to introduce you to one of my very first EnQ Path of the Lion graduates, Sonja Gardiner. Sonia is an expert in nutrition and wellbeing. If you need help improving your physical strength find out more here.